Wood, Knife, & Sound

Notes from the workshop of Jedidjah de Vries.

Archive for the ‘Obiter Dictum’ Category

Making in a time of Crisis

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

I write “This Machine Kills Fascists” on the inside of all my instruments as an homage to Woody Guthrie. I started playing violin when I was very little. But it wasn’t until middle school, when I discovered Woody, that I glimpsed the potential power of music. His guitar, with that slogan scrawled on it, has always represented the complex nature of that potential for me. Of course music can be an incredibly powerful force. But also, for all his singing, it still took troops to do the actual fighting in World War II.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the role of music broadly, and violin making specifically, as we collectively barrel into the present pandemic. We’re going to need music to stay grounded, connected, and empowered in the times ahead. I have great love for all the musicians out there, and have really enjoyed the live streams and other creatives ways folks have been keeping the music going. We’re going to need it all—and I hope we can figure out ways to get musicians paid for their work too! But, I also want to acknowledge that many of the difficult challenges we face won’t be solved by music alone. And I want to thank deeply those on the front lines of this crisis, the doctor and nurses, the retails workers at the grocery store and the truck drivers keeping them stocked, cleaning staffs, and ordinary folks caring for each other.

To be honest, my job just doesn’t feel that important these days. I keep doing it anyway in the hope that we are moving towards a different world. I sometimes think that might be important in it’s own way, but I am not at all sure it is.

In the mean time, stay safe and health friends, and please take care of each other out there.